Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation Discusses DOT Ten Year Plan
By Kathryn Williams | September 24, 2021
The New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation last week on September 1. The meeting was intended to discuss the 2023-2032 Draft Ten Year Plan Overview by the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT).
Every two years the NHDOT is required to put forth a proposal for improvements to state transportation systems using federal and state funds. According to the Ten Year Plan home page on the NHDOT website, “the purpose of the Ten Year Plan is to develop and implement a plan allowing New Hampshire to fully participate in federally supported transportation improvement projects as well as to outline projects and programs funded with State transportation dollars.”
Some of the seemingly more obvious issues that come to mind when thinking about what sort of projects need funding include maintaining and repairing roads, keeping up with tolls, and fixing infrastructure. The ten year plan will address 158 bridges with the goal of removing 37 bridges from the red list, that is those bridges in most need of maintenance.
However, many people would not consider less tangible issues, such as the effects of COVID-19. With stay at home orders and still CDC cautions of traveling, the state of New Hampshire suffered a loss of revenue from tolls and gas. Peter Stamnas, Director of Project Development, said most roads are in good condition, but a persistent lack of funding could result in a quality decline.
The main strategies of the ten year plan are maintenance and preservation, core system investments, and federal re-authorization. Some of the goals include accelerating ten year plan projects when possible, fully funding existing projects, and considering future projects to improve safety and capacity.
In addition to presenting data on current projects, Peter Stamnas, Director of Project Development, presented info for additional projects not currently in the ten year plan. One of the topics up for discussion was the Exit Sign Renumbering project, which one commission member noted can be a touchy subject for residents. Some are proud of their state exit sign and attached to what it represents, such as local businesses or attractions. Council input on whether or not they should be added will await presentation of further information.
In an effort to gain insight of public opinion and needs, the Department of Transportation is developing an online survey for public comment. They hope this will engage a broader audience, including people who may not be able to be in meetings to provide feedback. The survey asks users to rank their priorities on how they think investments should be made to address various issues. Additionally, users can give their preferences for options on how to address a variety of topics, as well as what they think about various aspects of transportation, such as road conditions. The survey will also collect general demographic information & opportunity to provide additional comments. The survey is not yet available to the public.
Looking forward, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation has 22 hearings tentatively scheduled for this fall. The first hearing is scheduled for September 21 in Claremont, New Hampshire. Logistics of the meeting will be dependent on COVID protocols of each area, but they will be in-person — a live virtual option and an asynchronous presentation was also discussed.